After living in the small town of Guyuan for almost 5 months, I have felt like a kid in a candy shop here in Taipei. I have always considered myself a smallish town girl, but I love to travel to big cities. Taipei is filled with a buzz. Just looking at my city map, excitement grows in my stomach as my mind calculates where to go and how to get there!
I don’t know if this is a fair comparison, but Taipei feels a lot like Hong Kong, Westernized but still holds on to tradition. The streets here are lined with local shops and stands but also Western chains and department stores. There is a Starbucks on every corner but also a man selling red bean stuffed waffles. The simplicity of Guyuan has made “Western staples” seem extravagant to me…movie theatres playing English movies, fitness facilities, restaurants of all cuisines. You can see and taste the best of Taipei on a budget or spend to your hearts delight!
Navigation is pretty easy–the city operates with an extensive bus and metro (MRT) system. Using an EasyCard, one has access to both systems easily and interchangeably. I have been grateful for English street signs especially since traditional Chinese characters are used here, rather than the simplified version used in mainland China. Essentially I have been able to navigate the city on my own to see sights or simply roam around with little confusion and without much Mandarin ability. Some of my new Taiwanese cohorts have even joke that I know the city better than they do! :)
But the best part is the scenery, like Hong Kong you get the best of many worlds- city scape, mountains, riverside, and sea. Small temples are tucked into the weirdest places and parks are placed in the middle of the cement jungle of buildings. I have been able to experience many of these views and will share them with you soon!
Needless to say, being in Taipei has been a bit overwhelming but exciting! My days have been packed as my new friends from the Tai’an Church have been eager to show me everything their home has to offer. I was actually grateful for a few rainy days this week to chill in coffeeshops, reflect, journal, and engage in conversations with my new friends. (But after a two days of rain I am definitely ready for the sun to come back!!) Living in Guyuan has made me appreciate a simple lifestyle, and has made a gooey slice of pizza, a steaming Americano, and attending worship feel like a real treat.
Look for more posts later on my religious experience in uniting with the Tai’an Church, highlights of Taipei, and eating my way through the country!